Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tackling my pile of "other" books: Guernsey and Twenties Girl

Posted by Simcha 4:34 AM, under | 8 comments

:I've decided that this week I'll focus on tackling my pile of non-genre books that has slowly taken over my nightstand. With all the science fiction and fantasy books that I still need to read, and all the books I keep adding to my To Be Read pile, the non-genre books that I've been intending to read have sadly been sitting untouched. But this week I'm going to make amends and go through as many books in the pile that I can make time for.

So far I've read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.

I first heard about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society when it was recommended by Books on the Nightstand, and since every book they recommend sounds so good, including the cookbooks, I immediately added it to my list. I actually would probably never have picked up this book otherwise, because I'm not a fan of books written in letter format, but for Guernsey, this style was perfect.

Book Description from back cover:
January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was such a delightful and enjoyable book that after finishing it I had the insane desire to start again from the beginning (luckily I controlled the impulse, since I have so many other books still waiting to be read). I was amazed at how the the authors managed to create a whole cast of wonderful characters, each with their own unique personality and voice, just through their correspondences. And while Guernsey is a relatively lighthearted read, it does deal with the hardships and tragedies suffered by the residents of Guernsey during the German occupation.

The copy of Guernsey that I read was borrowed from a friend but this is a book that I feel the need to own myself, partially so that I can lend it out to everyone I know. In which case, I should probably get two copies.


A while back, I had gone through a stage where I read quite a bit of romance and chic lit. books. And while I've pretty much recovered, there are a few authors that I discovered during that time whose books I still continue to enjoy. One of those authors is Sophie Kinsella, and I have been looking forward, for a while now, to reading her most recent book,
Twenties Girl.

Lara Lington has just been dumped by her boyfriend, and her new business is not going so well since her business partner, and so-called friend, went on holiday and never came back. The last thing she is interested in doing is attending her great-aunt's funeral, particularly since she barely even knew the woman. But as the ceremony gets underway, a young woman suddenly appears before Lara and demands that the funeral be stopped because her necklace is missing. Only Lara is able to see or hear the woman, and before she knows what's happening, she finds herself announcing that she believes her aunt to have been murdered, successfully bringing the funeral to a halt.

And that is only the beginning of Lara's adventures as she attempts to help the young woman, who is actually her great-aunt Sadie's ghost, find her beloved necklace.Thanks to Sadie's bullying, Lara soon finds herself picking up strange, handsome men, dressing in 1920's era clothing, learning to dance the Charleston and discovering the truth about love and about her family.

The Twenties Girl was a really fun book that I just couldn't put down, and so I ended up reading the whole thing in one day. It has the same casual and humorous narrative as Kinsella's other books, as well as the awkward and cringe-worthy moments that she seems fond of putting her poor protagonists through. If you are looking for a lighthearted, romantic read, this book would be a great choice.

Next on my reading schedule is The Sex Lives of Cannibals, by J. Maarten Troost (which despite the provocative title, is really a travel memoir) and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which I bought six months ago and still haven't cracked open

8 comments:

Twenties Girl is so hilarious! I was lauhging all alone in my room while reading it. :))

i've heard that the Guernsey library is quite a good book!

Would love to read twenties girl as well but would get a copy when there's a mass market paperback available :) It's still too expensive in my country but i've heard its also funny! Typical Kinsella!

Yes, I really enjoyed both books. It's actually been so long since I read a book that had me locking myself in my room for hours at a time (to hide from the husband and kids) that I forgot what it's like.

@ Ruby: Where do you live? I also have a hard time finding or affording many of the books that I want to read and so I make friends with people who read similar books as I do so that I can borrow from them :)
OK, so maybe I use people for their books sometimes- being my friends is totally worth it!

I haven't even heard about that Eyre Affair but I will totally look for it! Thanks for mentioning it to me! :)

I started listening to books like Twenties Girl on my long commute to work and have been surprised a number times at how good some of them were. I especially love Twenties Girl. I laughed through so much of it that it might have been dangerous for me to listening while driving!

You are really doing a great job at getting through your books. I am really having a hard time here lately getting through my book with the holidays and so much prep for them. Twenties Girl sounds like a great and fun book. I think I am going to look for a challenge for next year that will challenge me to read a few books outside of my normal genre. I think I want to try a few other kinds of books, maybe mystery and regular fiction.

Great reviews.

When I lived in America I pretty much only read fantasy but then when I came to Israel I was forced to read whatever the local library had to offer in English, which was a pretty limited selection, but I discovered all kinds of new books that I would never have read otherwise read, particularly some really great memoirs. It's good to branch out to different genres and a challenge could provide the push you need. If you are looking to try something different, I highly recommend A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. He is one of my favorite authors and this is a real laugh-out-loud book about his adventure hiking through the Appalachian Trail. There is not a single person that I have lent this book to that has not loved it (and that's pretty much everyone I know)

Not sure how easy it is for you to get short stories there, but I'm starting a short story challenge. There are some easy levels to it if you can get too many and want to participate:

http://storytimewithtonya.blogspot.com/2009/12/short-story-challenge.html

If you're interested, great! If not, that's ok too!

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